If you have not heard of Fernando Flores, you probably will. He is a dangerous genius who may dramatically impact the future of management. Some are saying that what Peter Drucker did for organizations, Flores is doing for individuals. In a Fast Company article it is said that “Before Peter Drucker, there was no science of management. Before Fernando Flores, there was no science of organizational transformation. Flores has defined the terrain, drawn the maps, created the language – and built the rocket ship to take you there.”
Why do I think he is a dangerious genius? Rembember Werner Erhard and his Erhard Seminars Training (est) courses? These began in 1971. By 1988 one million people had attended this cult-like, human potential “training.” But by 1990 he experienced a high personal burn rate. His family turned on him, the IRS came after him and his company fizzled out. He psychologically messed up a lot of people, i.e., his followers.
Fernando Flores certainly has street cred. He was the finance minister of Chilean president Salvador Allenda which resulted in spending three years as a political prisoner. He has a Ph.D from UC-Berkeley (his thesis, written in 1979, was Management and Communication in the Office of the Future), and he has founded two successul companies. He is worth $40 million dollars.
Any thoughtful student of the future, or even the present, no doubt senses at least some need for organizational and personal transformation. The dynamics of the future will demand it. So I have taken note of an observer stating in the current issue of strategy+business that in every conversation, Flores focuses on “inventing the future that is possible for him and the human being he is talking to. He’s always had ambitions for other people that are bigger than their own.” I like that. He has said that when you find yourself in seemingly untenable situations you don’t need solutions, you need transformation. I like that, too. “Hope is the raw material of losers,” I’m still thinking on. But you have to kind of like a guy who occassionally goes out and buys $1,000 worth of books and the rearranges his work schedule to give himself time to read them. I like that idea. A lot.
His next big idea? To combine social media, politics and human potential to create “pluralistic networks.” That sounds like something to watch out for.